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Planning for Retirement

It is never too early to start planning for retirement. Employees should begin evaluating their options at least five years before their planned retirement date.

The five-year plan for retirement is important because both Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) and Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) have what’s referred to as the 5-year or first opportunity rule. This generally means that in order to carry the coverage into retirement, the employee must have been covered for at least five years immediately before retirement or for their full period(s) of service if less than 5 years.

                                                   Steps Employees Should Take Prior to Their Planned Retirement Date

5 Years or Less 1 Year or Less 6 Months Out
1. Review your service history for verification of all civilian and military time (If applicable), and verify if a deposit/re-deposit is required. 1. Confirm you are eligible to retire. 1. Resolve any debt owed to your employing agency.
2. Confirm that your FEHB/FEGLI forms are correct. (Note: there is a 5-year requirement to carry both into retirement). 2. Set a date to retire. 2. Ensure all deposits are paid, if applicable.
3. Check your eligibility for Social Security benefits. 3. Review your benefits for eligibility into retirement. 3. Choose your exact retirement date.
  4. Review your beneficiary forms to verify your designations. 4. Complete your retirement application and submit it to your benefits service center for processing.
  5. Arrange to attend a pre-retirement brief.  
  6. Contact a Retirement Specialist to request an annuity estimate and to review your Official Personnel Folder. You can also utilize the estimator tool in GRB to get an estimate.  
CSRS employees should retire on the last day of a month or the first three days of the beginning of the month. The annuity will start on the next day. FERS employee should retire on the last day of a month. The annuity will begin the first day of the following month.

Visit OPM.GOV for more information on retirement planning.